OF OFFICERS AND MEN
KEEPING THE RANKS OF THE ARMY FILLED WAS THE CONFEDERACY'S most difficult, though certainly not its only, military problem. New matters of organization constantly arose; officers had to be chosen, promoted, dismissed, and disciplined; enlisted men required a large amount of care, both of body and soul. The states had to be considered at every step, and when they proved intractable the administration had to decide whether to cater to or disregard them. The United States army organization and practices, while satisfactory for a beginning model, needed constant alteration. The South, with its military tradition and its experience in the Mexican War, always had enough officers, but too frequently the War Department had little jurisdiction over their appointment or promotion. Finally there was the problem of a president who would not hide his military light under an administrative bushel.
The Confederacy planned to organize defenses before the Lincoln government could take the initiative, and even before providing for executive departments Congress ordered its military and its naval committees to discuss jointly the resources of the country and how best to use them. The committees met on February 19, 1861, consulted with experienced military personnel, and worked out the main points of military organization.1 On February 26, March 6, and March 16 Congress put the ideas of the committees into effect with laws establishing an army, a navy, and a general staff. The laws were almost identical with their United States counterparts and covered everything from pay to personnel. The haste with which they were written, combined with the outbreak of war, necessitated numerous amendments, but their basic structure remained the same. During this formative period the members of the military and naval committees were